Working full-time and being in grad school has made me feel like a computer is just an extension of my body. So far gone are the late 90s and early 2000s when 'computer time' was about one or two hours a day. Now it seems like I'm lucky to get two or three hours away.
Passenger's song, Scare Away the Dark resonates pretty well these days:
Between computer-free time being scarce and getting ready to brave the upcoming Minnesota winter, I've been spending as much time as possible outside. I'm lucky to live in Saint Paul, a gorgeous city with so many parks and natural areas. All I have to do is walk a few blocks or drive/ride a few minutes and I'm computer-free and surrounded by trees, dirt and happiness.
A few of my favorite outdoor places:
NOTE: PLEASE CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL PHOTOS TO VIEW
Hidden Falls Regional Park
This park is extensive and you can get all of your outdoor needs met here. Visit this park to:
- Go on a small hunt for the falls (they aren't marked, they actually are hidden).
- Bring a picnic basket and enjoy lunch or a snack near the river to prep for your adventure.
- Pick up the MRT bike trail which will take you along the river to Crosby Farm Park and through downtown St. Paul.
- Take a walk on the MRT trail (pedestrians welcome) and bring your camera.
- Watch boaters go up and down the river from the clean beach.
- Walk on the unpaved paths along the river for a more foresty feel.
- After you're finished stop in nearby Highland for froyo and a walk through Half-Priced Books!
St. Paul Mississippi River Scenic Overlook
I'm going to be honest, I don't know if this is the real name of it- but here's what you do to get there -> Find Summit Avenue, pass The University of St. Thomas and just keep going until you can't. You'll run right it because you won't be able to drive/ride into the river. This overlook has well worn paths for hiking through the trees and easy access to cliffs where you can sit and watch the majestic Mississippi river flow by. Every visit here, I walk past college kids smoking/looking guilty and trying not to own the smell. Even smoking on the cliffs. So brave, I salute you.
If walking through the trees isn't your thing, you'll miss out on the streams, more hidden falls and breathtaking views, but you can enjoy a walk along the river on the bike/pedestrian path. This path is a great option for: enjoying a walk minus bugs, walking off a big meal, date night, exercising so you can reward yourself with a Tea Garden shake, or looking at houses you hope you'll be able to afford someday. Go. It's awesome.
High Bridge Area
Why the High Bridge fandom? Why not! This place boasts:
- Walking and bike trails along the Mississippi River that never get old
- Views of the downtown St. Paul skyline
- High Bridge Dog Park
- St. Paul Municipal Grain Elevator
- Prime fall foliage color watching
- What more do you want?
Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom/Lake
The Como area has so much more than these photos even begin to show. One place that is really unknown is Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. It's simply a small forest in Saint Paul and it's absolutely fantastic. I love it because it reminds me of rural Minnesota when it was so easy to just surround yourself with nature. In the Outdoor Classroom, you completely forget you're in the city. Your companion dog will too! And she will be oh so happy.
Other than that, Lake Como is hard to argue with. It's a great little lake in the city perfect for a Sunday afternoon stroll or sunset photos. The bike trail around the lake is not recommended if you're serious about getting your speed on. So many walkers hop onto the trail and now Wheel Fun Rentals rents out the wide, wide family bike things called surreys. No good.
What can I say? This is home. There are some great parks in my hood, but what I really like about Hamline-Midway is that I don't have to look any farther than my backyard to capture some great shots. Alright, I may have just included this section so I could sneak the dog in the lion outfit photo into this post.
Where are your favorite outdoor places?